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“The Easy Trick” on How to Line a Drawer

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Sometimes the best thing about making over a piece of furniture is in the details. Like the addition of the sweet little tassel I added to my bedroom dresser.

Little decorative details can also be be added in other ways… like the addition of decorative paper to line the drawers or the sides of drawers painted with a stencil design.

Lining a drawer with pretty paper is not needed for the function of the drawer, but it sure gives your eyes a treat every time you open a drawer seeing a pop of color and a pretty design.

What is the Best Material to Use to Line a Drawer?

When lining a drawer I use gift wrap most of the time, but wallpaper works well as do book pages, maps, and other large pieces of paper. I have even used fabric. All of these materials work well.

gift wrap drawer liner
Green & White Gift Wrap Lined Drawers in My Living Room

Home Goods, TJMaxx and Marshalls are my #1 source for finding pretty rolls of gift wrap at bargain prices. I have 2 stashes of it in my house since I can’t fit everything into one location.

Lining a drawer with paper is not hard, but I know of a super easy way that doesn’t even require the use of a measuring tape to line drawers easily.

How to Line a Drawer with Decorative Paper the Easy Way

If your drawer can be removed and has no runner attached underneath, follow the lining a drawer tutorial below.

Try this trick the next time you want to line a drawer with decorative paper. No measuring tape needed.

1. Turn the drawer upside down on a work surface.


2. Lay the gift wrap or decorative paper over the drawer. Use the straight edge of the gift wrap to line up the paper at the front of the drawer. Cut the paper with a pair of scissors around the drawer to get the paper at a workable size of paper that is a little bigger than the drawer.


3.  Fit the paper into the depression around the bottom of the drawer.

Line a drawer with paper trick

4. Fold over the excess paper on the sides and make a crisp crease with your fingers.

How to line a drawer with wall paper

5. Fold the excess paper around the back edge and make a crisp crease.

How to measure and line a drawer with paper the easy way

6. Remove paper and cut along the side of the drawer creases with a pair of sharp scissors.

7. Since the inside of the drawer has the back and it is hidden on the underside, you need to add the approximate thickness of the drawer back above your crease on the back of the paper (this sounds harder than it is, but once you do it, it is a no-brainer).

When cutting the back, add the thickness of the drawer back and then cut a straight line using your crease as a guide to keep your cut straight. Since the cut is in the back of the drawer, if you cut a bit unevenly you won’t even see it.

Lining a drawer with gift wrap or wall paper tutorial

Variation: Use the side of a straight edge and craft knife to cut your paper along the creases.

Use decorative gift wrap or wall paper to line the drawers of a dresser

Once you fit it and made the creases, turn the drawer over and place the gift wrap inside the drawer fitting the front, back, and one side in place.

One side will have to be fitted.  Use the edge of a ruler to move the gift wrap in place to push the excess up against one side.  Crease this excess, remove the paper and cut along the crease.

How To Line a Drawer When The Drawer Can’t Be Removed

If your drawer can’t be removed or has a runner underneath, follow the steps in this post: How to Make Pretty Drawer Liners for Kitchen Drawers

How to Make Drawer Liners Stay in Place?

To make any drawer liner stay in place and not slip around inside the drawer you have a few different options to use.

  • The easiest is making rolls of tape and placing one under the paper in each corner of the drawer.
  • Use Glue Dots to hold the paper in place.
  • For a more permanent solution, use spray glue to attach the paper inside the drawer.

More Drawer Liner Ideas

I learned these creative drawer lining tricks when I worked in retail display many years ago.

Decoupage Book Pages

I lined my desk drawer with the pages of a book about typefaces I found at the thrift store.

Line a Drawer With Fabric & Clear Sealer

You can also use tighter weaves of fabric to line a drawer. I used decorator fabric and sealed it with clear sealer to line this drawer.

For more decorative detail look closely, I also stenciled the sides of this drawer for an unexpected surprise of color.

Line a Drawer With Gift Wrap and Clear Adhesive Sheets

Want to make your paper drawer liners easy to wipe clean, seal the paper with clear iron-on adhesive or Contact paper.

Do you have any tricks to make something much easier than the traditional way of doing things?

wood console table with green and white striped drawer liners

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  1. Hi Diane,
    Thanks so much for this! I’m just about to do this on a piece I want to sell, so it couldn’t be better timing! I’ve always done it inside the drawer, but this is so obvious! DOH!
    Thank you for sharing,
    Cheers, Liz (Australia).

  2. Diane, I love how your projects are very precise and detailed! I’m the same way, but sometimes it’s a problem! I want things to be the best they can possibly be…..or not at all! Perfectionism….it keeps me from starting and completing many projects. But with your instructions, I know you have already worked out the best way, so I’m always willing to press on with your ideas!

    Also, I noticed your scissors….they are so cool! Are they antique? I love that they are the same on both sides, so it doesn’t matter how you hold them, your fingers still fit! If you know where I can find a pair, please share. Thanks for all your lovely inspiration.

    1. Hi Beth –
      It makes me so happy to hear that the instructions I write in my posts help you. I try my best to cover every step and make the process clear and telling readers what to watch out for and tips to help to ensure success.

      I bought the scissors online a few years ago. They are not antique. I found them by doing a Google search for Vintage or Antique scissors. You may find them at garden centers. I saw them at my garden center last summer. They were in a green and yellow package.

  3. Simple and brilliant is what I thought and what I saw the other commenters say. They are correct! Thank you for making this task so much easier. I have some wrapping paper that is just screaming to become drawer liners!

  4. Oh yes, this information is perfectly brilliant. I so admire how you find the most fabulous papers to match what you have done…. you never fail to highly impress.

  5. That’s so easy its BRILLIANT! I have several ugly drawer insides, and I didn’t want to paint. Thanks!